Blue plaque for war nurse Nellie unveiled

The society's president Kevin Trickett along with Nellie's nephew and niece George Spindler and Margaret Rose Truelove.
The society's president Kevin Trickett along with Nellie's nephew and niece George Spindler and Margaret Rose Truelove.

A blue plaque bearing the name of a Wakefield nurse killed while treating frontline soldiers during the First World War has been unveiled this week.

Nellie Spindler, 26, was fatally wounded by an enemy shell which struck a casualty clearing station near the bloody Battle of Passchendaele in August 1917.

15th May 2007. Nurse Nellie Spindler.

15th May 2007. Nurse Nellie Spindler.

She is the only nurse to be buried with full military honours, among 10,000 men in Lijssenthoek, Belgium.

The plaque in her memory has been placed on the side of a block of flats on Stanley Road, where her family’s house stood more than a century ago.

More than 30 people, including some of her relatives, attended a short ceremony on Stanley Road on Wednesday afternoon.

Kevin Trickett, president of Wakefield Civic Society, gave a short speech in which he said: “It’s a little bit of history, and it’s a lesson for anybody walking past to learn a little bit about a local girl who gave her life for her country.”

Born in Wakefield in 1891, Nellie worked at St James’ Hospital in Leeds before volunteering to ‘do her bit’ with the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service.

She found herself at the closest field hospital to the trenches during the four-month-long battle which left more than 475,000 dead or wounded.

The plaque in her honour was paid for by Wakefield District Housing (WDH) after being approached by the civic society.

But it was former Wakefield nurse and nursing enthusiast Janet Miller who first brought Nellie’s heroic efforts to the society’s attention.

Attending the plaque unveiling, Mrs Miller said: “I feel really overwhelmed, it’s an amazing day.

“I never thought it would happen. I know this sort of thing relies on donations and there are so many good causes, but this is well deserved.”